Affordable-housing options provoke fear, dissent in Upper Twp.
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712 (Published: June 1, 2007) UPPER TOWNSHIP â€” The Planning Board’s solution to the township’s affordable-housing conundrum proved controversial during Thursday’s meeting.
Several residents painted a grim picture of beer-swilling, drug-addicted criminals filling the schools with their special-needs children. The influx of low-income residents would lead to crippling property taxes, drained educational resources, higher crime rates and congested roads, they argued.
But not even the Planning Board was pleased with its options. The board was still considering changes to its zoning ordinance at 11 p.m.
The township must find a way to provide about 341 affordable homes or face lawsuits by builders who offer to solve the problem at the expense of local zoning rules. The township successfully defended itself against one builder’s lawsuit already, but only because the housing project would have encroached on wetlands in Tuckahoe.
Another proposed development called Shaw Farms would provide about 134 homes, 20 percent of which would be dedicated to low-income residents. The board and Township Committee are considering many other options and at least 12 other locations for low-income homes, assisted-living centers and other ways to meet the obligation under state law.
â€œI feel for everyone in this room. I wish we didn’t have this burden, but we do,â€ Mayor Richard Palombo said.